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Miranda Writes: Respecting Others Means First Respecting God!




by Omar Miranda



The following is a question that was posted by a reader on the insightmagazine.org discussion board:

“I’ve been addicted to pornography for two years now, and it’s very hard to appreciate a girl for who she is while in this addiction. I have a girlfriend, and I want to respect her. What do I do?”—Andy.

Here’s my response:

Andy,

Thanks for posting this question/concern. I appreciate your honesty. First, I am a recovering porn addict. I first began looking at porn when I was about 13 or 14 and didn’t stop until 29. This addiction stole a large part of my life, but—praise God!—God has given me the victory, moment by moment and day by day. I have an awesome wife and two kids now. The second thing I want to let you know is that I am a full-time counselor and have special training in helping people with this issue.

I want to encourage you. I am proud of you for recognizing that you have an addiction. The first step in overcoming any sin—whether it’s cheating at school, gluttony, or porn addiction—is admitting it, and you’ve done that.

The next step is to ask God for forgiveness. Last, you’ve got to repent of your sin. That means that you not only tell yourself that you will stop, but you actually stop and get rid of all the temptations. Be serious about it! Don’t overlook anything. If you are struggling with Internet porn, get rid of the Internet. Get rid of anything—TV, cable, DVDs, magazines, even music that is sexually inappropriate—that is feeding your addiction. You could move the computer out of your room, or put the computer where the entire family can see it and then only use it when there’s somebody around. You could also ask one or two good friends or family—parents would be a great idea—to pray with you and talk with you openly about this either on a daily or weekly basis, or both. I know a lot of this sounds extreme, but what are you willing to do to really deal with the problem? The main question is this: If you continue to do what you’ve always done to deal with the problem, won’t you continue to get the same results? Jesus said in Matthew 5:29, 30 that when dealing with lust, it’s better for you to enter into His kingdom with only one eye or one hand. Now, hear me right: I’m not telling you to actually cut off your hand or poke out your eye. But the point that Jesus is making is that if you have a problem, and you want to solve that problem, then really deal with the problem.

Really dealing with the problem means two things:

1. Really look into why you look at porn. A lot of times people tell me that they were interested “just because” or that they accidentally looked at it. Not everybody who looks at porn will get addicted, but many people are predisposed to addictions and do get caught up; in other words, some people, because of how they were raised—what happened to them, or is happening to them, in their families—are left with emotional wounds or an emptiness that they are looking to fill. It’s very complicated, but the important thing to think about is this: What kind of relationship do you have with your mom, your dad, and with God? The answers to these three questions will be very important. Looking at porn is not the root of the problem; it is the fruit. Does that make sense? People look at porn because they’re hurting. It’s a kind of escape, an emotional Band-Aid, like drugs, alcohol, or any other kind of addiction. It’s our human way of trying to heal ourselves. The problem is that it’s a Band-Aid on a bullet hole, and we are emotionally and spiritually bleeding out. The only thing that will ultimately fix it is emotional and spiritual surgery. The only way that that will happen is to see a counselor who’s experienced in this sort of thing; that—and a lot of prayer, Bible study, and reading specific books that will give you the proper knowledge that you need to get and stay healthy.

2. Now with all that said, I can finally address your concern about having a hard time appreciating and respecting your girlfriend. My recommendation would be to put the relationship “on hold” for several months—at least three to four—so that you can really begin to give the things you’re learning and your sexual sobriety a chance to take root in your soul. What you’re experiencing is an unfortunate side effect of porn: female objectification. Put simply, it basically means that you end up viewing females—your girlfriend, for example—as objects to be used for your selfish sexual pleasure and gratification, and thus you stop seeing them for their infinite worth, their beautiful and unique personalities and character. You end up seeing only the outside and you don’t look—and can’t look— past that into the deepest part of who a person really is.
I find it interesting that when speaking about your girlfriend, you said two important things: (a) “It’s very hard to appreciate a girl for who she is while in this addiction”; (b) “I want to respect her.”

God wants you to learn to appreciate and respect your girlfriend for who she really is, too. I hope that you are serious about stopping your porn addiction, because the bottom line is this: The more you do it, the deeper and stronger that addiction becomes, until it becomes really hard to have any kind of healthy relationship with anybody.

My hope and prayer is that you will prayerfully and seriously consider this counsel. Please take it seriously when I tell you that living your life outside of a relationship with Jesus is only a waste of your time and energy. The only real hope you or I have for peace, joy, and fulfillment in our lives is to seek to know Jesus with all that we are.

Andy, I’d love to talk with you more in person. You can find my contact information below.

Until next time, everyone, remember that God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Make God first above all in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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